Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grading woes...

I wish we had a central database of paper topics used by students. Is it coincidence that I have 6 of 11 total papers on the same topic -- the Death Penalty? I suspect not -- I suspect that many of these folks wrote about the topic elsewhere and are recycling...

While recycling sources isn't a bad idea, I don't like the idea that they are double-dipping in terms of earning credit.

I think what they are doing is distinct from the way I'm splitting up my Advancement to Candidacy paper for use in my dissertation. I'm only getting one "credit" with that work.. .i.e. the degree. I'm also not supposed to change topics from the Advancement paper to the dissertation, so -- if I have a good take on the material, why start from scratch in the dissertation -- especially when my Adviser and most of my committee have already passed on the old version?

At any rate, here I go -- the last 11 papers until finals week... Which is a good thing, because I have some of my own writing to do soon... which will be a nice change from reading their stuff.

I wonder how many students will get to see my new handout on citations?? I staple one to every paper with inadequate citations, just so they can see how much their citation method sucks.

I'm going to keep the camera handy for a while....

The queen isn't exactly happy that the minion is in the room...

The battle for the back of Hubby's chair happened this morning -- the Queen won, although the Minion put up a good fight -- retreated and came back a few times -- and there was no hissing, spitting or growling from either combatant.

I suspect that the Minion will spend a lot of time in Hubby's chair... when he's not otherwise occupied by all the distracting stuff on my desk.... like my keyboard. He also has a distinct preference for the thumb-drive with all of my dissertation back-ups on it...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cat name...

For a while the most likely name was Gibbs... because it seemed to suit a cute cat who would probably grow up to be bossy and sexy like the NCIS character.

Now it seems more like his name should be Spock. Hubby thinks we could call him "Spok"...

I think this is a good name for him -- every vulcan has black hair, and Spock/Spok is a good name for a cat ---

plus, right now he seems to have some kind of kitty transport technology. One second he's on the floor, the next he pops up by your head...

Another reason to love my department...

Last year we decided to have irregular department meetings, with the promise that they'd read my e-mail updates and respond appropriately.

Previous chairs held more meetings. The problem with that was that, if you were teaching during the meeting -- like the vast majority of us were -- you never got an update on what was going on... there was no e-mail follow-up etc.. So -- more meetings = less communication.

We are required to have three face to face meetings per year -- according to our contract. The real challenge to having more meetings is having a time at which more than a few of us can attend... we are a very diverse department (Philosophy, Music, Humanities, Theater and Global Studies make up the department) -- and we teach a lot. So, we agreed on minimal meetings and more e-mail communication... which seems to be working out well.

Really, we don't have the time or inclination for weekly 4-hour faculty meetings -- like some of my pals are forced to endure... So, I love them.

I also love them because, with a little nagging, they meet my paperwork deadlines 99% of the time.

Yep -- they rock! (some of them literally, as we include music :)--

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cat photos...

Introducing -- "The Minion" -- He's fast, he's devious and he's starting to get along with the other cat in the house. Here he's dominating Hubby... Note, he's 1oo% black, from his whiskers to the tip of his tail. He may end up being Mr. Mistoffelees-- or Gibbs...

For the record, getting a good photo of a black cat isn't easy. It is more difficult when the cat seems intent on setting apartment-carpet speed records--- and is at least a shirt-tail cousin of a gas molecule.

Since she can no longer be "New Kitty" -- we'll call her "Queen Cat"... this is her protest yawn.... She's claimed the top of the cat post. From here she can see the whole living room, kitchen and most of the den/office. This has been the site of much protest sleeping of late -- which is distinct from other sleeping in that it is clear, even in her sleep, that she's irritated with us for interrupting her household with The Minion. The Minion has advanced to the platform just below her, I'm not sure she saw him do it.

Old photos are fun...

My cousin is making a photo calendar for my grandparents, so I started looking at the old photos for a good one of me and Pam. I found it -- and a lot more... Once Hubby scans some of them, I'll post them -- as they are pretty fun...

Among the photos...
  • Hubby and his first cat. He was pretty thin and the cat was pretty fat. That was the only cat who has ever hated me.... and he really, really hated me.
  • Lots of photos of currently deceased kitties -- when they were young and spunky.
  • A photo of Old Kitty (now, recently deceased kitty) when he was younger than newest kitty is now.
  • A photo of my grandfather in the Army from 1940. The inscription was interesting, " 'ITPF grandpa's name', 1940, property of his mother.
  • Lots of baby photos of me -- I was the first grandchild and all my relatives seemed to do was look at me and take photos...
  • Photos of the construction of my Grandmother's Speakeasy.... in northern Iowa during prohibition... The story is that they went to Minnesota, where they could get good bootleg alcohol and smuggled it via back roads and across Lake Okobojii in the middle of the night.... The really funny thing is that my dad ended up going to a military school and eventually he became a police officer.
  • Photos of my niece and nephew as very little kids -- those are the ones who are away at college now. The youngest two hadn't been born yet.
  • Photos of my cousins and I with my great grandmother --
  • Photos from my wedding to Hubby-- we were such CHILDREN--- really, we would have fit into either of our classrooms...

Yummy smells.... and a good day

The turkey breast is resting.

The stuffing and gravy are done.

The cranberries and 5-cup salad are cooled.

The pumpkin pies are also cooled (a full pie and an improvised smaller square pie made of leftover pie crust and leftover pie filling).

My house smells like Thanksgiving -- and we'll have leftovers for the weekend.

It is a weird tradition cooking for leftovers, but it makes some sense to cook a meal and plan to use it all -- right?

Not bad for a girl who had her last chemo infusion this morning.

By the way, when you finish chemo at my clinic the nurses sign and decorate a coffee mug -- very sweet!

I think this summer I'll see if they have a volunteer driver's list for folks who need a ride to and from chemo -- if I like the folks, I'll sit with them too.... I think some people getting chemo long-term are pretty lonely. I could be a good companion... I'll bring my own work if they feel like watching TV or reading, but nothing pressing so if they want to chat, we can chat... hmmmm.

Cancer skills

Now that I'm officially in the "observation stage" -- and will be for 2.5 years... I can make a list of the skills I've gained in the 6 month cancer journey... in no particular order:
  • The pole dance -- the IV pole, that is. How to most efficiently drive one. How to negotiate the bathroom and other tasks while hooked up and how to make sure you come back untangled.
  • Recliner operations -- How to make them tip back, how to work the attached tables etc.. My cancer center has two versions, I've mastered them both and have a distinct preference for the green ones.
  • Port aerobics -- The implanted device that takes the needle so they don't have to put one in my arm every week -- is kind of tricky. I know all the gymnastics and movements to make it work.
  • How to live without hair -- this one is easy, ignore the fact that you don't have hair. Don't try to hide it, just pretend you have it. People will look at you funny, but it doesn't really matter.
  • How to talk to insurance companies and hospitals -- this one I've only gained a small skill at, but so far it made me see a $220 error in my favor.
  • How to hold still for scans -- the trick here is to think about someplace else. Close your eyes and pretend you are elsewhere. Mentally walk down the beach or wherever you are. This trick also works to bring your blood pressure down when you are having it taken.
  • This isn't really a skill, but rather a bit of advice -- always be nice to your chemo nurses. They're the ones who will make it quick or slow for you to get done with your infusions... they'll look out for you to make sure the oncologist orders the right stuff.... Also, be kind to the chemo scheduling people -- they can make you come in early or late -- when it's busy or when it isn't etc...

Thanksgiving Memories...

The smell of turkey brings up a host of thanksgiving memories...
  • More than a few Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Kay's. She was a terrible cook -- dry turkey, decent gravy and tart JELLO salad with sour cream -- that looked like whipped cream. The best part about dinner at Aunt Kay's was watching a newbie get into the "sweet potato vs. yam" choice with Uncle Earl. 20 mintues later, Earl would be done explaining the difference and the newbie would regret asking -- as their choice would be cold.
  • Thanksgiving in the little house I grew up in --- Mom's a great cook, but often worked the holiday, so sometimes Pam and I would go elsewhere and then sometimes Mom would cook another day... so our "Thanksgiving" might be on Wednesday, Friday or some following Sunday.
  • The first turkey I ever cooked --- I was just married (anniversary was last week...) and we lived in Colorado. I had all the stuff -- but no real experience with the bird. I tried to call Mom in Minnesota, but all the phone lines out of Denver were BUSY ---- which made me very homesick.... it was 1990, so I knew Mom wouldn't be on IM or able to take a text... In the end, I did talk with her --- and ended up cooking the bird without taking the paper out of the bottom of the tinfoil pan.
  • Last Thanksgiving it was me, Hubby and mother-in-law. I bought the whole meal at the grocery store -- and it was pretty good, although I can do better. I spent the weekend reading ethics drafts --- something I vowed never to do again.
  • Alternate Thanksgivings with Hubby's side of the family --- The same basic meal -- always really good, which is something to be thankful for in and of itself, because my sister-in-law could be a terrible cook ala Aunt Kay :). Good company, nice conversation (no alcohol, so no drunken fights :), ), the kids are growing up -- so the group gets smaller as the older two are in school in Utah. One of the really good things about being here is living close to them ---they're really different from my side, but not "different" in a bad way :). Yesterday I was pretty proud of myself for not getting into a big political fight with my brother-in-law (sister-in-law's husband, not Hubby's brother). He's a fan of Michelle Bachman -- and not so hot on Obama.... I realized that I wouldn't get anyplace with him and did some smiling and nodding... yea me!
  • Today we'll cook a mini-Thanksgiving dinner--- mostly so we can have leftovers. We'll do a turkey breast, stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, 5-cup salad (ha -- Hubby, my blog, you can't change it to "Ambrosia" -- I win this one!) and cranberries. I'll also make a pie -- but only quasi-from scratch. Those are the Thanksgiving leftovers we don't throw away :) ---

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A lot to be thankful for....

This has been a difficult year --- breast cancer and chemo qualify as "difficult"....

But, it has also been a year of blessings...
  • I'm thankful that Hubby found my lump early and that the radiologist decided to work the sonogram a bit extra to see it and biopsy it. Letting it go surely would have proved fatal.
  • I'm thankful for Hubby and Mom. Both of whom put their 'other' lives on hold to take care of me -- even when I wasn't particularly thankful, I really do appreciate it.
  • I'm thankful for my oncologist, who is aggressive about both treatment and follow-up observations -- as well as for the chemo nurses who make every treatment much easier... and they know their stuff.
  • I'm thankful that I have a job that will let me work and treat my breast cancer... included in that are wonderful colleagues who both ask about my chemo AND talk about other things --- as well as my students, who have been much more kind and understanding than I expected them to be... they are 18-22ish, after all.
  • I'm thankful for the two cats we lost since my diagnosis -- both were wonderful "boys", sweet, loving and funny... I'm also thankful for the newest "boy", who is funny, surprising and seemingly a direct descendant of the Energizer Bunny.
  • I'm thankful that Hubby and I will be together next year --- we may be poor and overworked, but we'll be together. After three years working 400 miles apart, it will be a blessing --- even when we get grumpy with one another.
AND -- I'm super-duper-uber thankful that tomorrow is my LAST CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old cats and New cats....

Old Kitty had a vet appointment today -- and it wasn't good news.

The short of it is, we decided he wasn't a good candidate for surgery -- and that it was time to put him down.

It was a difficult decision, and it wasn't... He hadn't been himself for quite a while. He'd gone from a cat who was nearly 20 lbs to about 5... and it was clear that, although he'd purr and snuggle a bit, he was in pain.

Hubby and I realized we'd said goodbye to him a while ago, that New Kitty NEEDS a companion, and that we should get one while we'd be home to mediate disputes...

So -- we went to the Humane Society and brought home a 5 month-old black boy kitty...

We've been home for five minutes, New Kitty wasn't all that phased by the sight of boy kitty. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm trying to ruin debate... really

I still participate on the debate message board... I know I shouldn't, it is kind of like watching the "Real Housewives of _______" -- a guilty pleasure.

The thing is, now that I have no teams in competition, I can be honest with these fools. I've just finished posting an argument against judge adaptation. The basic idea is that the debater should adjust their arguments and presentation style to the judge who is watching them. In general, it isn't a bad idea -- BUT, the reality of it is that doing so takes a basic comm studies principle and twists it into an impossible burden for the debater.

It really is kind of fun to be on the outside of debate looking in. I don't miss the travel, the stress or wandering around a strange campus on a Sunday morning when I should be drinking coffee and petting a cat. I do kind of miss the debaters themselves and I actually miss a few of their coaches.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A book and Grading Jail...

First -- I've just finished a fictional book about someone who is, in essence, a blogger... It is pretty good -- "Why Girls are Weird"

It is a bit odd, because she's creating a quasi-fictional version of her own life -- and her on-line persona and her real-life get mixed up a bit. Really, it is fun to read because the author is fun to read. For the record, my personal details are true -- Hubby exists etc :).

Second -- is it sad that I decided I would not take a shower until I finished part of my grading? I really need to get some of this done -- and I've reached my first plateau, the reward is a shower. After the next set, I'll take a nap.

I think the end of the semester is going to be a bit difficult, if only because the fatigue is getting worse. I've had two cups of coffee, breakfast and a big glass of V-8, and I feel like I could go back to bed for a week or so. What is odd about it is that it feels like I'm coming down with a cold or something -- with only the fatigue as a symptom.

Maybe the shower will help...

The good news is that Hubby is doing the domestic thing today -- laundry, dishes and general cleaning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Loving a snowy Saturday morning...

We have contentment all over the house...

Hubby is sleeping in.

New Kitty is sleeping under my desk, on the furry rug that is no longer for my feet -- but, for her highness..

Old Kitty is in bed with hubby.

I'm contemplating the following choice -- make coffee and stay up, or go back to bed and read a bit in the snowy early morning sun...

back to bed is winning....

Friday, November 21, 2008

The just war theorist and the gamer...

Scene: Hubby and I in our office. Our desks are next to one another - each of us can see and hear what is going on next door.

Among the insurance paperwork, phone messages and remnants of my sabbatical application, are a variety of articles about the ethics of warfare. On my desktop are several chapters of my dissertation about the ethics of warfare.

One of the primary aspects of the ethics of warfare is that an unprovoked nuclear attack is a no no.. a big no no.

On hubby's screen, as I type, he's nuking a variety of innocents in his video game -- and taking a bit of glee at it all. In fact, he just asked me if he could nuke his own people -- just for fun.

Come on hubby -- do you have anything to say in your own defense?

Philosophy Jobs, part two -- writing a cover letter & CV for the CC...

So -- you've seen a job announcement for a CC --- and you think you could bring yourself to work there.... (If you need more convincing, see the previous post with this tag...)

The question is how to write your letter and CV so that you'll be an attractive candidate. The chances are that your usual letter will need a bit of modification, as the people at your research institution don't generally have a clue as to how to appeal to a community college. Don't worry, you aren't alone in that problem...

I'll start with some advice about your CV...

Overall, remember that your package will most likely be read by folks outside your discipline. There will probably be at least two or three people from your prospective department on the committee. There will also be faculty, staff and administrative folks from across the college on the committee as well. These folks don't know the buzz-words, trends and specifics of your discipline, so they won't be impressed if your CV is full of jargon and name-dropping. All of that kind of nonsense is a waste of space.

Generally, your research interests are significantly less important than your teaching experience. This section should be the last on your CV - behind one about your coursework and the one about your teaching...
  • Give a brief synopsis of your dissertation. Make it comprehensible to people outside your discipline and sub-field. Think about how you'd explain the topic to your mom and write that.
  • Move your publications to the back and only list the three most impressive discipline specific publications -- and EVERYTHING that is at all teaching related.
  • Summarize your discipline specific conference presentations and elaborate on anything that could be seen as teaching related.
Having a good preparation in the field is quite important. It should be the third section of your CV.
  • If your field has several sub-fields, indicate the coursework you've done that gives you a background in that field.
  • Include a brief description of the course, if you have space. Make sure that the descriptions, as a whole, indicate a broad view of the discipline itself.
  • Remember, you'll need to contribute to shaping the first classes students take in your field -- you need to show that you have the flexibility and knowledge to do so -- and perhaps to teach those classes.
Service is important -- be it on-campus or volunteer.
  • Include any departmental committees and especially any university-wide committee work. Show you are involved beyond your own research agenda.
  • It is great if your committee work involves projects that directly support student success, increase access for students or overall improve the lives of undergrads on your campus.
  • If you have off-campus volunteer activities that are academic or human-services in nature, include them. Here is where you'd mention that you've been tutoring inner-city kids in math, are a big-brother or big-sister or the coach of a high school debate league.
  • If you think your political or other kinds of activity will make you more interesting, then include it -- otherwise list it but only briefly.
Your teaching experience is very, very, very f-ing important. It should be at the first major section of your CV.
  • Make sure you include every kind of course you've had any part in teaching. We are looking for someone who has taught a variety of courses
  • Make sure you are clear about making distinctions between the courses you've TA'd and the courses for which you are completely responsible.
  • Be clear about the number of sections you've taught/TA'd. An entry like "taught ethics 2005-2007" is mostly useless, but "taught 4 sections of ethics per semester 2005-2007" is much more helpful, as we can get a real picture of how many students you've taught.
  • Not all TA positions are alike, so make sure you indicate whether or not you were pretty much a grader, whether you held your own recitations, met students in office hours etc. Generally, the more student contact the better.
  • Include any professional development activity that has focused on teaching. If your grad department requires a professional development course, include that in your teaching section and highlight the topics covered. If you've gone out of your way to do additional courses at your university about teaching (preparing future faculty etc..), include that as well.
At the very top of your CV you should list your career objective and your degree status. If you are ABD, include your MA as well as the fact that you are ABD. If you actually expect to defend before the job starts, include that information.

As for your cover letter...

We'll probably look at your CV and cover letter as a whole. If your qualifications and experience are clear on the CV, they only deserve a brief mention in the letter. Generally, your letter should be organized and jargon free. We'll read your letter as if you are talking to us -- and thus we'll get a picture of how you'll talk to our students.

What we want to see in the letter is how you might fulfill the minimum and preferred qualifications listed in the announcement. There are often things like "experience teaching with technology" and "contibutions to access / diversity" that can't be communicated easily in a CV. So, tell us about the fact that the undergrad population of your university is 40% minority -- or about how your TA experince includes TA for a class that does a lot of work on-line.

Tell us about your experience handling a classroom with students who have very different levels of academic preparation. Tell us about how you held special tutoring sessions with a small group of struggling students, and tell us how those students went from a D to a B in the course.

Tell us about your own experince with community colleges. Did you take classes at a community college as part of your undergrad -- either in the summer or in the first two years. Did one of your parents teach at a Community College?

Do you have some other reason to relate to our students? Did you work full-time as an undergrad? Was there a semester or year you had to drop back to part-time and take evening classes? Is there something in your life experience that would let you relate to someone who is barely holding on in college while trying to lead an otherwise busy life? If it is only something like seeing your mom go back to college in her 40s, so that you understand the struggles of our students -- it helps.

Overall, tell us about what makes you interesting, unique or special. Why would we want to have you come in to interview -- out of the other 250 applications on our pile. What do you have that will make our college better? What can you give us that the other 249 applicants can't.

1 chemo to go...

I have my last chemo appointment scheduled--- hopefully forever!

Next Friday, instead of Christmas Shopping, I'll get chemo.

It is kind of weird, I can't believe it is almost over. I've been on this roller-coaster since the middle of May.... literally the week Spring 08 grades were due. Everything was a step toward next week, successful completion of chemotherapy.

I have a schedule of follow-up appointments -- for the drug study I need to do an EKG an a MUGA December 1. Sometime in early February I'll need a PET scan before my follow-up appointment with my oncologist February 17.

That means that for the months of December and January I won't have cancer-related doctor's appointments. That seems so very strange.... I've been living on a cancer schedule for so long -- the prospect of not doing so is something I'm going to have to get used to.

My oncologist said that the Mayo's standard procedure is to NOT do follow-up scans etc... because they found no increase in survival rate with the scans. I'm very glad my oncologist doesn't agree with them. If only for my own sense of well-being, I want some scientific proof that my cancer hasn't metastasized. He also says that he thinks people who begin treatment before they feel sick enough to realize the cancer has metastasized, handle the treatment better.

It has been a long -- but also kind of a short -- time. Really, in the terms of most academics -- it has been a summer and most of one semester. Considering how long it takes for us to complete projects, degrees etc... it is pretty short. Think of what you've finished writing since May (I don't mean to depress you :) ) --- that time is relatively short.

On the other hand, seven months of thinking about it -- of reacting to a small lump in what used to be my left breast -- is a long time. What, in most cases, is a result of 'you have nothing to worry about' -- for me was, you need surgery (twice), a port inserted under your skin, a series of infusions of toxic chemicals, steroids and anti-nausea medications. And -- what is really kind of odd, and lucky, it all ended up in one calendar year -- thus one 'annual out of pocket maximum' for my insurance.

I have dirty pajamas....

... sure, they are in the laundry waiting to be washed....

But -- the real thing is that I just noticed that the pattern itself is sexually suggestive.

They are flannel pj bottoms I bought at Target. They have a blue background with suns, moons, stars and other symbols I don't know exactly what they are...

AND -- "69" -- all over.

I don't know what the other symbols mean, but I know what that one implies...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I have to wonder...

... why a student who has neglected to even attempt assignments that are worth 1/3 of the grade AND has had two poor take-home exams -- even needs to ask whether or not they should withdraw?

S/he is actually pretty engaged in the course itself, but neglected to do the writing assignments.

After a bit of a confrontational beginning to the class, I actually like this student and wanted him/her to succeed.... and it makes me sad that they haven't even tried to do the assignments.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

...and then the vet called...

It looks like old kitty will be our Christmas present this year....

His blood levels aren't good, so he'll need surgery.

This is sad because he's an old cat -- and kind of frustrating because we just can't seem to get ahead money-wise.

I kind of doubted we'd be able to afford a vacation before Spring starts -- now it is for sure.

grrrr...... I could have used a little vacation....

I know things could be worse -- it is just a bit frustrating.

18 years.,,,,

Hubby and I got married 18 years ago.

We were so young. We had no money, very little education and three cats. We lived in Colorado -- he was in the Air Force and I was working for a hair salon answering the phone.

We got married by a judge -- who asked me if I wanted to promise to 'obey' -- I declined to do so. He married me anyway :) -- really, I doubt Hubby would have been happy with someone who would make such a promise.

Hubby is rarely unable to speak -- (those of you who know him must be giggling at the masive understatement right now) -- but, when it came time to say "I do" -- he was very quiet. I'm sure he said it, but it wasn't easy to hear him.

Over the years we've moved many times. We've had 5 cats -- and a whole lot of laughs.

This year hasn't been easy -- and I'm sure next year will be better.

Our 19th anniversary may find us in some 'yet to be determined' college town -- or hubby will be a 1L... who knows? One of the reasons I love Hubby the most is the adventure he brings to my life.

What I do know is that next year we'll be together -- our 'adventure' of a long-distance marriage should be over -- or, at least on hold :).

I love you honey --- I'll see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Logic macho...

Today I tried something different in logic...

I divided the class into groups -- with at least one A student per group -- and an even distribution of so-so students and poor students.

I assigned each group a problem to do and told them to write a legible proof.

I put the proofs on the data projector and we talked about them.

I did this instead of doing much of a 'lecture' -- about the new rules. I briefly discussed the rules and then had them work with the rules and ask questions as they came up.

The results were pleasing -- we discussed many more problems than we would have using other methods. Students discussed what to do and how to do it -- and helped one another pretty well.

I like this method enough to do it again -- and next semester!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Victory -- I think....

I've been trying to sort out a difference of opinion between myself, the hospital, and the insurance company.

I think I've finally found the problem -- way, way, way back in June I gave the hospital $220.00, for which I didn't get credit.

Their collections folks called me in August and I gave it to them again.

At the end of it all -- they thought I owed them more than I thought.... and we began the shuffle...

It looks like I'll finally get credit for my $220.00... and, if they don't think I actually paid it -- I'll get my credit union to beat them up. They're a military credit union, I think they can take a wimpy hospital.

Loving my "commute"

From our old apartment I had about a 20 minute commute -- all highway, which could take up to an hour depending on whatever the asshats in the trucks were doing that day... [my road was the 'truck route' so that the rich folks don't have to have trucks on the INTERSTATE that transverses their neighborhood -- they resisted finishing the road for decades until they got their way... a 35 MPH speed limit and no trucks!].

Anyway, my commute used to cross the X, Y, Z intersection -- which is glare ice this morning.... and I don't have to go there. I live almost spitting distance to BNCC. YEA!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Notes from grading jail... don't be a dumb-ass edition...

Just a few hints and tips from grading jail...

  • If your prof makes a big deal about getting a question right -- listen up. Especially if it has been on BOTH exams, discussed after the first exam and while handing out the second exam -- AND especially if the prof has mentioned posting a PowerPoint explaining the answer -- the least you can do is to try to get it right.
  • If your prof asks a question involving a paper she wrote and handed out to you -- and posted, you should probably look at it when it turns up as part of a question. Then, make sure you at least read enough to pretend to reference it in the answer. Really, this is all that is necessary for a decent grade -- and failing to do so will get you a crappy grade. Deal with it.
Also -- a general warning -- when your prof is mostly bald, has one boob and is just finishing chemo, your whining and bitching about a bad grade you clearly deserve isn't going far.

I hope your final papers / projects will be better.

Philosophy Jobs -- part one, the CC may be your friend.

First off -- let me say that getting a job in this year's job market is really hard. Most of the SLACs and state schools are freaked out about their financial prospects. The nice, research-oriented jobs -- the ones where they pay you think and then publish, are getting more competitive --- before they are put under some kind of hiring freeze.

The big secret is that there could easily be MORE community college jobs around -- if not for 2009-2010, then for the year after. Currently CC's instruct about 48% of ALL undergrads. Naturally, many drop out etc -- but, if you are looking for a job, it is a good thing to remember that jobs go where the students go.

CC jobs are counter-cyclical. When fancy-pants schools are worried that their students' parents can't pay the $35,000/year tuition -- they ought to be worried. Those same parents look at a bill for $150/00/ credit hour and pay it gladly to have their kid in college. Their college may well be BNCC. Plus, people who get laid off etc... go back to school. Sometimes they are changing careers, so they need their 'generals' for a new one -- other times they are working on a degree they quit from a long time ago etc... The thing is -- they are going to their local CC first.

CC jobs respond to enrollment pressure -- especially in my state. We have a contract that specifies how many classes must be covered by full-time faculty. That means for every set of sections we add to meet enrollment demands, we have to hire folks into tenure-track jobs.

Just to start you thinking about the job -- because the idea of teaching at a CC makes many philosophers cringe -- I'll start by saying it really isn't as terrible as you may think.

The pay and benefits are pretty darned good. I have my own office, with a window. I can apply for a sabbatical every 6 years -- and, since you wouldn't be in the 'cohort that got screwed by the contract' like I am -- your first one will be a year long at %80 pay.... Mine will be at %60, second at %80... grrr... At my school, I love my discipline and my department. My dean has good days -- and generally doesn't get in the way of what we want to teach. I get to choose my own textbooks, write my own syllabus as long as it complies with a VERY general course outline, and overall teach and grade as I think best.

The bad part is the 5/5 teaching load and the big classes. This semester I have two ethics classes at 50 students per class and two logic classes at 40 students per class. I have a one course release to be Humanities Department Chair... Next semester will be one of my smallest number of students so far (besides one debate coaching semester) -- I'll have 160 total, over four classes. If I'm teaching in Fall 09, I'll have 240 in five sections.

Before you ask -- yes, I have my students in logic do proofs for quizzes and exams and all of my non-logic students write several short or longer papers. Yes, I'm often up to my eyeballs in grading, but I've developed a system to grade papers quickly. No, I don't have anything like a TA or even a secretary that can enter grades in my gradebook. No, I currently don't use bubble-sheet exams -- but I have in the past and I may go back to them on a limited basis. Yes, the grading sucks and often their writing sucks.

Right now, because of the big class sizes, I've decided my school does not want me to teach my students to write in philosophy classes -- so, I'm not doing it. I circle errors and make comments about their reasoning. I do consider form when determining grades, but I don't do more than that. To be honest, if the comp folks can't manage it in classes half my size -- how could I possibly do it in classes of 50?

So -- when the Eastern APA turns out to be a huge, expensive, hassle and waste of time -- don't get too depressed. Start looking in the Chronicle and other places for CC jobs. They'll be there --

Next time -- how to write the cover letter and CV so that we'll WANT to invite you for an interview....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thoughts on group work.. so far...

This semester I waited a bit longer to form groups. I also considered their academic performance as of the first exam, when determining groups.

Students who were in danger of failing the class weren't allowed to be in a group -- they had to complete a paper to pass. This is a good thing, as most of those folks have since faded away from the class.

In one section I made a group out of several folks who weren't doing well, but really wanted to do a presentation. That group is shrinking pretty quickly -- and none of the remaining members made it to class last week... sigh. I kind of wish I hadn't let them be a group, because one less group would mean that each group would get a full class period to present.

Overall, the groups seem to be functioning much better than they did in previous semesters. I'll know more when I meet with each group on Tuesday.

Today I'm arranging my T/Th logic class into small working groups -- based on their most recent quiz scores -- I think this is the right time to do so, as they will really need some logic-pals to get a good grade on the last quiz...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Utilitarianism definition

For the record, the common definition of Utilitarianism as "the greatest good for the greatest number of people" is both popular and an incorrect synopsis of Mill's theory.

With this definition you can be forced to do that which benefits more individual people instead of doing what is the greatest good.

For example, if you can make 50 people slightly happy with action A, but move one person from extreme pain to extreme happiness with action B. The formulation that entails making the greatest NUMBER of people happy means you do action A (because 50 people is more than 1 person) -- when, in fact the greatest utility (change from pain to pleasure, i.e. increase in pleasure) comes from action B.

Careful reading of Mill -- hell, a cursory reading of Mill -- shows that Mill is concerned with the net increase in happiness. To calculate this increase, all impacted persons must have their pleasures and pains considered -- but, this does not entail his position was "the greatest good for the greatest number of people".

This is one of my biggest pet-peeves -- and the easiest way to know that my students are using the internet instead of class notes when writing a paper or exam. I thought I'd write this post in the hopes that the argument against this flawed definition will be out there... Along those lines, the argument that 'most people use this synopsis' is committing the basic ad populum fallacy... I suppose it is easier to say "everyone is doing it" than to actually read and think critically about Mill.

A whole lot down, 2 to go... or RBOChemo...

  • The chemo itself was fine -- as usual (knock wood). No surprises, no illness --
  • I need a nap, but that is because Hubby came back late last night and we spent some time talking before bed.
  • We got really good news about the drug study. I've been getting the test drug all along AND I don't have to come in every three weeks for the next 6 months or so. That is the best option!!!!
  • I'll have to do an EKG and MUGGA (heart tests) between Thanksgiving and my birthday -- but, they are painless and now I know where to go at the big hospital -- they should be pretty easy to do.
  • I'll have to have occasional PET scans -- which is much less fun than being sniffed by the cat -- (they have weird restrictions on what I can eat within 24 hours, they give me radioactive stuff and make me sit in the dark --- no reading -- for 45 minutes before the test).
  • My Oncologist said he'd come talk to my Medical Ethics class in the Spring -- I have a variety of topics he can talk about... and I think the best way to go is to have him write a short bit about what he does and the possible ethical challenges -- and then have the students ask him questions. He's best when he is answering questions and he'll really relate to my students.
  • It is also quite possible that I'll have students in my future classes who work at my cancer clinic. I'm ok with that -- as I'm open about the cancer etc... The ones who have mentioned going back to school at BNCC are ones I like and who would make good contributions to my classes -- so it's all good.
  • Time for the last of my ipod-ed Mad Men, and a nap.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secret messages to people on TV...

First --- I have to admit I watch both the "Real Housewives of _____" and "The Girls Next Door"... Not very academic etc... but, get over it..

To NeNe (RHW of Atlanta): 1) Don't talk BS about people on camera. All that stuff you are saying is being recorded and you should know they are going to show it and you'll be busted. 2) We don't need to see all of your boob-crack. Please buy some shirts that cover your front. 3) Also -- learn some 4th grade math -- 1/3 is smaller than 1/2 -- don't argue with your sweet husband when he says otherwise.

To Kim (RHW of Atlanta): Sweetie, wanting to sing and being able to do so are two different things. Just because you are friends with the producer dude doesn't mean you have a good voice. Listening to you sing on TV was pretty painful -- please take a whole lot of voice coaching before you sing on TV again. Also, for the record, people with real money and 'class' don't have to talk about it -- think about why you do.

To the husbands of the RHW of Atlanta: Y'all are really sweet to put up with those women. I'm constantly impressed by the way you simply act with dignity, grace and class. Keep it up --- you have a lot to teach your wives and children.

To Holly (Girls Next Door) : Don't you think it is kind of weird that your life is revolving around finding hot girls for the magazine? Also -- you are attractive, you don't need to flash your butt to prove it.

To Kendra (Girls Next Door): Pretending not to know you are a celebrity isn't attractive -- be gracious and accept the attention. Also -- try not to let your ignorance show so much -- and, since you are now out of the mansion -- get an education. You won't be hot and 22 forever...

Thursday thoughts...

  • Hubby's on the way home --- he'll be here about 11... It seems like I just kissed him goodbye yesterday -- because I did :). This week it is almost like we actually live together -- wow.
  • Chemo tomorrow -- three left! I'll find out if I've been on the study drug tomorrow as well... the suspense is killing me --- not really, but it will be nice to know.
  • I now have about 85 exams to grade -- it is big, fat pile. I hope they don't think they'll get them back anytime soon.
  • Tonight I'm having a pot pie and a baked sweet potato for dinner... yumm.
  • Sometime soon I've got to make more progress on the conference paper. I know what it will look like, now it needs to get out of my head and into the computer.
  • My ethics classes are doing presentation prep for the next few days. I love these days -- and presentation days --- because I don't have to talk. Really, I don't have to talk in Ethics anymore this semester.
  • My logic classes are hitting the intellectual wall. This section is really hard and separates the ones who really get it from those who have been able to pass so far. We'll start the last section soon -- and they'll either get it or not.
  • My grading folder is so fat -- as fat as it will probably be for the rest of the semester --- it is kind of depressing. I have this cartoon on the front of my grading folder -- and it does make me feel better...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

RBO my drive from Red State....

  • I love that this will probably be our last year doing this long-distance thing. In April I can kiss Corn State goodbye --- at least for a bit.
  • In my traffic 'cohort' today on the interstate I saw a tiny little blond girl driving a huge Hummer and talking on her cell phone. I could barely see her face in the window...
  • I love the farmer protest signs: "Politicians, Hogs don't Vote" and a series of signs protesting urban sprawl ending with "build in the city".
  • New York has Woodstock, Corn State has Woolstock -- which can't hope to be as cool.
  • I saw lots of those huge windmills -- and they were all working.
  • They are skiing at the "ski hill" in the south metro.
Yep -- it is nice to be home.

Heading back...

... to BN state.

The good news is that Hubby will be about 36 hours behind me. YEA.

I got some good work done this weekend.

I also gained an amazing tie-dyed scarf -- it is kind of big, but I'm going to figure out how to wear it.... especially since my January conference is attended by a lot of military folks, it should be fun to be the tie-dye girl.

Now, it is back to real life -- teaching tomorrow and chemo on Friday. Three to go!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Got some writing done...

I now have an idea as to what my conference paper is going to look like.

I think it should be just about right and it is expanding on some ideas from a paper previously presented at this conference -- so, it should work.

Also -- I'm getting more enthused about the idea of Hubby going to law school... which seems kind of odd, as if he goes, I won't be able to take my sabbatical. I keep getting the feeling that this is what he should do. I'm glad he gave the SLAC teaching thing a try -- because I think he needed to see the icky bits from the inside before he'd be content (few are actually happy) as a corporate lawyer-type. The truth is that the icky bits are really icky --- and he's seen just about every possible variation.... and, maybe it is time for him to get out.

Today is for ALL the Veterans....

Being at war, at least this time around, brings out the best in folks on Veterans Day. As a country we are good at recognizing the personal sacrifices and challenges of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have developed many ways of recognizing the problems facing military families and the community is rising to meet the needs of the families of deployed soldiers.

I want to make sure that ALL vets get some recognition today. We've had a military since before the country was founded and many people have served in it. Think about the folks who are former military -- for the most part they are Veterans as well. They may have served in Korea of Vietnam. When they got home, they were looked at with suspicion -- and probably spat at. This group is obvious too... and, really not the people I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the people who joined the military in the '80s and '90s. They often chose to serve their country instead of going to college -- or, they did both --- and the college took a long time to finish. While their peers were getting degrees and promotions, they were winning the Cold War and either fighting or supporting the first Gulf War. Many of them are out now -- either retired or simply tired of the military and decided to go elsewhere.

Many of these folks were in technical jobs -- particularly in computers. Imagine telling a computer programmer in 1992 that their annual salary would be $25,000.... they'd laugh and accept any one of a dozen jobs that paid twice that. Whole buildings full of folks accepted their $25,000 because they felt they were contributing to their country. Now many of them are thinking they should have taken the cash in the civilian job market.... and for all the recognition they get, maybe they are right.

What makes a Veteran important to our country is their willingness to serve. It takes a very selfless person to decide to give up significant amounts of their own personal freedom for the greater good. It takes considerable courage to take a job that could mean you get shot at -- even if it doesn't happen. It takes a great deal of self-esteem to take a job that many people think requires no intellectual skills and is only the province of people who can't get other jobs. It takes a sense of adventure to take a job that will probably send you to someplace you'd never go on your own, where you don't speak the language and where you often can't afford to do all the fun things (think enlisted person's salary, in Tokyo -- for example).

Every Veteran has these qualities -- and more. Today is the day to appreciate those who do what most of us don't want to do -- and who did it so that you don't have to.

Personally, I'm going to spend most of the day working on a new version of the ethics of warfare--- and I'm going to take my Hubby/Veteran to lunch.

ps... Memorial Day is the day for honoring those who died in combat -- or after serving. Veteran's day is for the living... please keep it that way. Really, the dead men and women who have served already have their day, we give them picnics and parades -- we decorate their graves -- don't lump them in with the very alive Veterans among us...

Monday, November 10, 2008

On actually getting something done...

Don't hate me because I'm caught up on my grading.

Don't hate me because I sent the final edits of my Sabbatical Application to my Dean last night.

Don't hate me because I have the worst part of the Fall 09 room schedule done.

I have a conference paper to write from scratch and about 85 take-home exams due Thursday.

I have chemo fatigue and some of the fingers and toes on my left side are a bit numb (but, I can still type and function... they just feel a little funny).

I have 'bad old man hair' -- like you'd expect to see on an 80 year-old dude smoking outside the nursing home.

but -- I am in Red State with Hubby... and loving it, at least the 'with Hubby' part.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Good to be in Red State!

The drive down was good -- the weather cooperated, mostly -- which is all I can ask of Corn State in mid-November. There was some light snow, but it wasn't cold enough to make the road slippery...

I listened to old podcasts of "This American Life" -- which is a wonderful show!!! Dang, how I love my ipod!!!!

I love the fact that I can be here until Wednesday due to Veteran's day off at BNCC!!

Monday I'll go to the salon at the local cancer center for some advice about hair and a prosthesis --- My favorite hairdresser helped raise money to dedicate part of the salon to a local beauty school owner who died of cancer. I really liked him and his wife -- as I worked with them in a variety of capacities in my past life here --- it makes me sad he died... maybe while I'm out and about I'll stop by the school to see if she's around. I'd love to say hello to her.

Tuesday will be the officially sanctioned 'hang out in PJs day'. I've decided I need one of those in the week to fight the fatigue... since they are usually Wednesdays, but I'm driving home on Wednesday -- Tuesday it will have to be :). Maybe I'll start the day by going to the gym and stop by to visit my hairdresser THEN hang out in PJs all afternoon.... not quite what the doctor suggested, but -- then again on a 'normal' Tuesday I start teaching at 7:45 AM and finish after 9:00 PM --- so maybe if I don't do the teach-a-thon, I also don't need the bed day afterward....

Tuesday night we'll go to dinner with a textbook technology dude whom I know from BNCC. He happened to mention that he'd be here this week, I said I would be here as well and he suggested dinner... So, Hubby and I will pick him up and we'll go to one of Red State City's many good restaurants --- That is the hidden secret about Red State City, we have a ton of good places to eat.

Today, we'll play and work a bit.... then dinner at the Melting Pot. Hubby won some poker money last week and I told him he needed to take me out -- so, he is :).

As I drove into Red State City yesterday, I realized that this really could be our last year living here -- ever. It seems kind of weird, since I haven't officially lived here for the past three years, but I'll miss the regular visits down here... I suppose Hubby and I could make the trip -- but, I know we won't. Really, especially if we end up living in BN state -- there are better places for weekend trips than Red State.... I won't be done with the place until I defend --- so I'll have a reason to come down on occasion next year... but, it won't be quite the same.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Updates and weekend plans...

Chemo was fine -- 3 more to go. YEA!!!!!!!! After that, scans and other tests -- but, assuming all is well, no more chemo.

IF I'm in a particular part of the study, I'll be in for the study drug every three weeks. Since it isn't an actual chemo drug --- the difference is lost on me, but the essence is that the drug stops blood vessels from forming to support tumor growth -- the side effects are very minimal and I can go in on my own...

I think my oncologist is going to miss me -- he said I have to come back to visit him every week :) -- I'm going to see if he'll come talk to my Medical Ethics class next semester -- I think he'll do it, he loves to talk :).

Tomorrow I have the following to do list:
feed and water cats
pack hubby's gym clothes and my CPAP machine
pack the ipod & laptop
Bring grading, schedule stuff and dissertation stuff...

because --

wait for it --

Tomorrow I'm going to Red State!!!!

We don't have class on Tuesday for Veteran's day, so I'm off from teaching until Wednesday. So -- I'll go down and see hubby tomorrow morning and won't come back until Wednesday afternoon.

This will be my first solo trip to Red State since last April. That's a long time for me..

Also -- if you have a spare 'good vibe' for me and Hubby -- send it along. He's just applied for a job he'd really be good at --- he's kind of an odd candidate, but perfect for the job. The best part is that it's local. We wouldn't have to move. I could take my sabbatical without packing -- and the job is permanent, so we wouldn't have to fuss about jobs the next year, be apart etc.... plus it pays more than my job ---or, at least it should.

The bonus is that he could tell current uni to go away -- they've messed with him too long.

Palin bashers...

I'm on record as saying I didn't think Palin was ready to be VP -- or God forbid President. I'm also on record as saying I thought she was selected by sexists who thought they could manipulate her to be what they wanted her to be --- and if she were male, she wouldn't have been handled in the same way.

But --- now that they've lost -- the "insiders" need to shut the heck up! If what they are saying is true, they should at least put their names on it... but, more importantly, if what they are saying is true --it is bad enough that they had a moral responsibility to work against her before the election... even to go so far as to replace her on the ticket with someone who IS competent.

From what Palin said on CNN tonight, the "insiders" were part of debate prep and took some of her questions and statements out of context. I'm assuming they really would put country first -- so they are now extrapolating in a new direction -- otherwise they should have had her removed from the ticket rather than risk having her in power.

This smacks of "blame the woman because we didn't win" -- Dudes, y'all lost. You lost to a superior Presidential candidate and a VP candidate who seems more Presidential and experienced. You lost to a phenomeon, a rock star -- who ran an excellent campaign and -- it seems-- ran his OWN campaign. You lost to a really nice family man who promised his kids a puppy in the White House.

It was an uphill battle, and you lost. Your candidate's concession speech was classy, you and the Republican party should follow his lead. Blaming the girl -- in a way no prior VP has been blamed -- is tacky. The McCain / RNC strategy was flawed a long time before y'all plucked the Palins out of Alaska and tried to use them to get Hilary votes.

For starters, it wasn't a good idea to run on the theme of "I'm not him" --- Gore and especially Kerry tried it -- and it didn't work out so well for them. Then the nasty stuff about Barak --- "accusing" him of being a Muslim (as if there is anything wrong with that) AND condeming his Christian pastor in the same claims was super stupid. Trying to claim that, because he worked with Billy Ayers on a local board, he was a dangerous terrorist was plain old stupid --- you didn't notice that Ayers and the Obamas live close enough to vote in the same Chicago precint ... which explains the fact that they know one another. Do you really want to be judged according to the actions of your neighbors? I know I don't -- when we were in base housing we lived by some doozies... I don't think it is fair to call Hubby and I drug abusing /wife beating/ animal neglecting/ major-league rednecks just because we happened to live close together.

Notice -- none of that had anything to do with Palin -- unless you want to claim that she was feeding you all of those stupid ideas from Alaska.

and -- just FYI -- I wasn't going to vote for McCain no matter who his VP was ---- really, the only way he'd have a chance was if he nominated Hubby as his running mate (imagine a poli sci guy's 'Rolled Gold' or "I slept at a Holiday Inn-Express commercial) ... and even then I'd have to think twice about it.

Now, shut up --- lick your wounds and learn your lessons. Be classy and play nice with the Democrats. You need them to get your stuff done --- and, you aren't going to be in charge for much longer. Get used to it!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A new time....

Somehow, with the election resolved the way I wanted it --- for a change :) -- things seem better and more calm overall.

For one, Hubby and I figured out that we could, if necessary and with a strict budget -- live on my salary. This gives him more options for next year, in case the job search doesn't work out his way.

One of those options may be law school. The thing is, hubby is very articulate. He's also very good at formulating devastating verbal responses to arguments... in other words, he is and was a very good debater... the kind of debater that would make a good teacher or lawyer. The theory is that a combination of a Ph.D. and JD ought to be pretty employable in a variety of contexts -- and that most of those places would pay pretty well:).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hair Update...

I'm sure y'all have been eager to know how the hair is coming along...

I have lots of really, really, really fine hair over most of my head.

From what I can see, it is coming in gray.

From the eyebrows up, my head looks like a guy who is going bald, usually shaves and hasn't for a while.

This isn't exactly a good look for a woman, but I trust that when my REAL hair comes back it will be as wild and curly as it used to be. As soon as I can color it, you can bet your butt I will!

I decided to post about my hair because I had a dream this morning that I went on a trip and left my hat at home.

Um... no...

I have a student who has missed several classes in Logic...

As may be expected, she isn't doing all that well.

A while back I canceled her class, thus reducing the in-class discussion of problems etc.. I decided to keep the quiz schedule intact, but to give a 'free' make-up quiz in class the week after the originally scheduled quiz.... it is 'free' because they can otherwise make-up one quiz. This one doesn't count against that one...

This student missed the first chance to take the quiz, but she did take the 'free' make-up --- and didn't do well.

Now she wants her 'free' make-up. She's already used up her only allowed make-up...

ummm--- no

Just because you missed the first chance to take it and I allowed you to "re-take" a quiz you never took in the first place, does not mean that you get another shot...

Life doesn't work that way...

What a speech!

I've been to Grant Park in Chicago -- once. It was a normal fall day and it seemed like a normal, if pleasantly large, urban park.

Even watching on TV last night, I could see Grant Park was no normal place -- and Obama is no 'normal' speaker.

I've never had a President whose words moved me.... until now. I have high hopes for the next four or maybe even eight years. I, like many others, need to be moved and inspired.

We did a good thing by electing him -- now it is up to him to do good things with his office, and it is up to us to support him in the good things he wants to do.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I really can't say how nice it is to hear McCain's concession speech.

A clear mandate for Obama is even better...

And Obama's speech from Grant Park will be the best!

An election day prayer

To whom it may concern (celestial or internet Gods..),

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please let us elect Obama.

Really -- enough of this nonsense.

I'm tired of having old white men in charge of my country.

I'm tired of having sexist pigs in charge of my country.

I'm tired of having people who don't give a crap about the poor in charge of my country.

I'm tired of having someone who isn't articulate in charge of my country.

I've already voted. I did my part -- now I leave it to the rest of you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Maybe I did something right for a change...

An administrator liked my idea.

It wasn't their idea -- it was something I proposed out of the blue -- -and that solves a problem we've had. The rate of acceptance for these kinds of proposals is pretty low... maybe my problem was timing all along...

Also, an administrator seemed to like the first version of my sabbatical application. I got good feedback and need to do some basic editing, but it seems as if the general idea is acceptable.

Now -- I need all the stars to align so that I can take it ---

A year with most of my annual salary and all of my benefits to finish my dissertation without distraction -- sounds like complete paradise.... and, there is a distinct chance that I'll not even have to do it long-distance... to be IN residence... wow! Maybe the years of a 5/5 load and 200-250 students per semester earned me that... it has to be worth a lot of philosophical karma, no?

Voting and things...

I realized that I could do an absentee ballot, in person, and drop it off today -- which I did. I went over there worried it would take a long time, which it didn't.

After the BIG elections -- in which I got to vote for Obama and against a couple of other trouble makers -- I did a lot of 'vote for the women' and, 'vote for the only person on the ticket'.

and it felt good.

I've been worried about how to work voting into my Tuesday --- I teach at 7:45, 9:30, 2:15 and 6:00 -8:50..... So my times to vote would have been about 10:45-1:30 and 3:45-5:45.... and, if reports were correct, it could easily have taken me longer than I had.

My real problem I was having to choose between the NAP I needed to teach my evening class and voting --- which sounds really lame until you've been on chemo and had the fatigue hit you. Now I don't have to. My vote is in and I can sit back and watch the results come in --- and, you can bet my logic class will have one eye on their proofs and the other on the internet feeds I can show on the classroom projector :).

Have a happy voting day!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

RBO a Good deal Sunday...

We've had a fruitful day so far...

  • Brunch at a traditional Mexican restaurant -- it was a buffet with enchaladas etc... two of us, $24. This place is in a second-generation Mexican neighborhood, so there were lots of families and fun -- Mom and I were among only a few caucasion folks there. For those of you who don't know -- traditional Mexican food is very nicely spiced, but not necessarily hot, so it didn't bother the remanents of my chemo mouth.
  • A trip to Target with my hands in my pockets, so I'd just buy the laundry detergent I really needed -- $16.00.
  • A trip to the fabric store for the stuff we'll need for a project today -- $10.00.
  • A FULL tank of gas -- $21.00 -- it was $2.08/gallon!!
  • A trip to the used bookstore, which was the best deal -- I took in a box of books Hubby wanted me to take the the Goodwill... got $49.00 in store credit -- took out $51.00 worth of books and left them a whole $2.00. I'm going to keep doing that -- mostly because it will serve to reduce the total number of books around -- while still giving me something to read. What the used bookstore rejects will still go to the Goodwill... but, if I can get some new books for the old ones, why not?
Now, I think I'll try to take a nap -- or, at least let Mom nap while I watch some Mad Men....

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Facebook snooping...

There was a guy who was "the guy" in high school.

He was the football quarterback (our team sucked) -- probably prom king and overall popular guy.

When they seated us alphabetically in class, I was always by him -- and for 8 years we had lockers close together.

We weren't friends -- sometimes he would tease or diss me -- but, generally I just didn't exist. I saw him in enough contexts and for long enough that I couldn't think he walked on water. I just thought he was a jerk, and I'm not good at hiding those kinds of thoughts. I also wasn't one of the popular girls (band geek, figure skater, nerd, not rich --umm, duh!), so I would pretty easily escape his interest...

Well, I found him on Facebook. From what I can see, he's hanging out with the same people he did in high school. So many of his friends are the popular crowd -- and his most current facebook status is about watching the high school football team in the playoffs... I'm sure he's worked his high school popularity into a decent living for himself, but it is kind of sad. He never had the chance to reinvent himself -- to move beyond what he was in high school, which was the party/bully guy. I wonder what his employees think of him --- if he manages them like he related to his classmates?

I also found the facebook page of a girl who was a couple of years ahead of me. I wouldn't have known her at all, but we skated at the same club -- and she was notrious there for being a spoiled brat/bitch. If you get that reputation at the skating club, you've really earned it -- as most of the girls there were probably the brats of their own individual schools.... She's now the CEO of her "International Communications Empire" -- but, when I google her, I find a couple of blog posts on a local interest blog -- but, nothing about her company. Hmmm.... some communications empire, it doesn't even have a web page... From what I can tell, she's more like a local Paris Hilton... famous for being famous and the daughter of a rich guy.

I didn't send "friend" requests to either of them -- because they weren't my friends and I don't really want to know any more than I could see from their public profiles.

It is both good and kind of sad to see that things haven't changed 20+ years later. Of course, the people from my class that I'd really like to catch up with aren't on Facebook -- they wouldn't be, because they are too busy living their lives and doing cool stuff... I suppose I should spend more time doing those things than following links on Facebook, but -- what else should I do at 4:30 AM... darned insomnia.

Insomina -- the ironic chemo side effect...

OK -- overall, my side effects have been pretty mild... but, since I'm up, I'm going to complain a bit...

First -- on the hair... my facial hair and leg hair are coming back! They look pretty normal, but my head hair is so fine I need to sit in a certain light to see it at all! Un freaking fair! So, I need to shave/wax/pluck the hair I don't want, but the hair I DO want is really no more than fuzz... babies are born with more hair folks... that sucks.

Second -- the steroids cause insomnia --when my fatigue is getting a bit worse. So, when I need to sleep -- and have TIME to sleep, I can't. I went to bed about 11 PM and woke at 3:30ish... It is now 4:00 AM and I'm wide awake. I should be sleeping until at least 6 or 7... grrrrrr! I know by Monday I'm going to be tired. Heck, this afternoon I'm going to be tired -- whether or not I'll be able to sleep is another thing. I tried to take a nap after chemo, but I didn't get sleepy enough to actually sleep... So, I read for a while and got up.